Question #32fee

1 Answer
Sep 24, 2015

I believe that the use of ethosomes for transdermal drug delivery is still in the research and testing stage.


Ethosomes are self-assembling, nanometre-sized vesicles made up of phospholipids that contain a high content of ethanol (20–50%).

Many ethosomes have a diameter between 100 nm and 200 nm.


They usually consist of ingredients such as

  • phospholipids (~3 %) — to form the membranes
  • polyglycols — to enhance skin penetration
  • ethanol or isopropyl alcohol (up to 40 %) — to enhance skin penetration
  • cholesterol (0.1 % to 1%) — to stabilize the membrane
  • a dye — for ease in microscopic study

The ethanol interacts with the polar heads of the lipid molecules in the outer layer of the skin (the stratum corneum).

This increases the fluidity of the membrane and enables the elastic vesicles to squeeze through the pores and finally release a drug along the penetration pathway and in the deep layers of the skin.

The lipids in the ethosomes presumably fuse with skin lipids.

Ethosomes are highly efficient in delivering drugs to the deeper layers of the skin.

The question is: Are they safe for use by the general public?